In the coming months, collaboration between Mayo Clinic and The Links, Incorporated, will include educational outreach, critical research, and programs to prepare and encourage minorities to choose medical and health careers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African-American women:
- Are more likely to die of breast cancer than other women
- Have cancers that grow faster and are harder to treat, and are less likely to get prompt follow-up care when their mammogram shows something that is not normal
- Are less likely than white women to survive five years after a breast cancer diagnosis
- Are at least 50 percent more likely to die of heart disease or stroke prematurely than white women
Ginger Wilson, a Chicago lawyer and businesswoman, had been experiencing breathing problems — wheezing and shortness of breath — as well as weight loss, inflammation and digestive issues. "After 18 months, I had been diagnosed with asthma, an intestinal bug, an ulcer, rosacea and more," she says. "I received treatment for the individual symptoms, but never one diagnosis for all the symptoms."
One day, while on an outing, Wilson found she couldn't hike more than a few hundred yards. A friend, who was a doctor in training at Mayo Clinic, asked if she'd been checked for carcinoid syndrome, a condition caused by secretions from a slow-growing tumor. Wilson traveled to Mayo Clinic for evaluation, where the diagnosis was confirmed, and she underwent treatment. Seven surgeries later, she is back to being active in her Chicago community and owns the first African-American female legal staffing firm.